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Caroline Webb  

Chief Executive, Sevenshift; Senior Advisor, McKinsey; Author, How to Have a Good Day

Caroline Webb is CEO of Sevenshift, a firm that shows people how to use insights from behavioral science to improve their working life. Her book on that topic, How to Have a Good Day, is being published in 14 languages and more than 60 countries in 2016. She is also a senior adviser to McKinsey, where she was previously a partner.

The BBC has described Webb’s work as “helping people keep their heads in a complex world.” She does this by blending her experience in management consulting with her training as a coach, combining pragmatic work to strengthen her clients’ handling of professional issues with deeper personal work to enable them to achieve their goals in a more sustainable and inspiring way. An economist by background, she makes extensive use of behavioral science (behavioral economics, psychology, neuroscience) to help her clients discover how to be at their best—and how to bring the best out of their colleagues in turn.

During her 12 years at McKinsey, Webb specialized in helping organizations shift their culture in more positive directions. She co-founded McKinsey’s leadership practice and designed the firm’s approach to transforming senior team dynamics and improving personal effectiveness. She also founded and remains faculty of McKinsey’s flagship leadership development course for senior female executives.

Webb spent the 1990s working in public policy as an economist at the Bank of England. Her work there included authorship of the prestigious Inflation Report, global economic forecasting and institution building in post-communist Europe. She is a founding fellow of the Harvard-affiliated Institute of Coaching and has degrees in economics from Cambridge and Oxford Universities

Speech Topics


How to Have a Good Day: Using Behavioral Science to Improve Everyday Working Life

Whether we have a good day or not depends partly on things we can’t control—perhaps we run into an unexpected crisis, or our colleagues seem unusually cranky. But behavioral science shows us that many things that seem “fixed” or “random” can be surprisingly strongly influenced by our own actions, once we understand just a little of how the brain works. Caroline Webb will demonstrate how tiny tweaks to our daily routines can transform our experience of what happens around us, the number of hours in the day, our level of intelligence and even other people’s moods. With this kind of powerful insight in our back pocket, we can change our “luck” and put many more good days within reach.

Resilience: Building Resilience to Setbacks and Uncertainty

Setbacks and periods of uncertainty are inevitable in professional life, so your ability to handle challenging situations hugely affects your chances of long-term success. The good news is that science suggests there are plenty of ways to increase your resilience to ups and downs. Based on years of experience in leading business change projects at McKinsey and coaching clients through difficult times, Caroline Webb will explain several powerful, research-backed techniques to help you stay cool when things go wrong, get back on track after disappointments and handle ambiguity with skill. With these tools in your pocket, you can take more control of the quality of your days—and ultimately boost the effectiveness of your organization, whatever challenges are on the horizon.

Productivity: Making Your Time and Effort Count for More

We all want to make the most of the hours in the day, but it’s not always easy to see how to maximize our productivity when we’re surrounded by the always-on demands of modern professional life. In this talk, Caroline Webb shows how we can get things done with less stress, more focus and higher energy, by creating the conditions that our brains really need to perform at their best. Combining leading-edge research with her extensive coaching and consulting experience at McKinsey and Sevenshift, Webb will demonstrate a number of practical tips that have transformed her clients’ professional lives by boosting their efficiency, sense of achievement and work-life balance.

Leadership: How Behavioral Science Can Help Leaders Raise Their Game

Caroline Webb co-founded McKinsey & Company’s leadership practice, and was the architect of McKinsey’s approaches to transforming senior team dynamics and to improving leadership effectiveness. Over the years, Caroline has taught hundreds of senior clients how to strengthen their leadership skills using science-based techniques, and designed scores of transformational leadership development programs for companies seeking to help their managers raise their game. She also launched McKinsey’s flagship leadership development course for senior female executives. In this speech, Caroline shows how recent scientific research reveals simple steps that leaders can take to transform their organization’s performance culture—and lift their own performance in the process.

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